Jones Day bolsters Paris finance team with Gide hires

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  • As mentioned previously:
    - Gide has a number of excellent lawyers but its management and organization are abysmal and it has no long-term plan whatsoever.
    - It purports to be an international firm, but It is run by essentially 5 guys in Paris who have never spent any substantial time abroad.
    - It likes to think of itself as a finance firm, but it has never had anything more than an embryonic presence in London and New York.

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  • - It has a rigid lockstep and has always lost (and continues to lose) its best talents to MC and Wall Street firms.
    - It has attempted to expand globally, but, unlike its London or US competitors, its home market is not profitable enough to sustain aggressive growth outside its home base.
    - It is also deeply affected by rampant bickering, inter-practice and inter-office feuds, opaque decision-making and constant power plays.
    Overall, its future is not too bright -- at least as an independent firm. My own two cents is that it can either go back to being a mid-size European firm focusing on a few key markets, or merge with a global giant.

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  • A classic case of rats and sinking ship here

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  • @Anonymous 10:42:
    "- It purports to be an international firm, but It is run by essentially 5 guys in Paris who have never spent any substantial time abroad."
    Please check your sources which are rather outdated. One of the 5 members of the management committee has spent more than 10 years managing Gide's Moscow office. I know that Gide bashing is popular in The Lawyer's columns but it does not harm being accurate sometimes...

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  • Anonymous@ 10:53 am:
    Oh, right, 1 of the 5 big cheeses has spent real time abroad. What a rebuttal to the various points raised above.
    And BTW, is the gentleman in question the firm's senior partner? The managing partner?
    Didn't think so...

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  • Gide Moscow is apparently being run by a senior associate who had worked in EU Competition law in Brussels. Who's been a busy boy then?

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  • Anonymous @ 12:50pm
    Gide's senior partner has opened and managed Gide's Istanbul office for several years ... Here is for the alleged lack of international standing of Gide's management board.
    As for the other "various points" that you raised, all firms (even anglo-saxon ones, believe me) have their own flaws and problems. In my humble opinion, Gide's are not worst than others'.
    Remember that at the end of the 90s many thought that Gide was dead, but it eventually managed to significantly develop locally and internationally. The real strength of a firm in times of crisis is to have this capacity of reinventing its model while keeping its identity. Gide made it once, many are confident that it will make it again (ok not in these columns).

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  • To be clear, I don't have a vested interest; and I appreciate your defence of Gide's management -- being perhaps slightly less parochial as would seem at first glance. And perhaps there is room indeed for an international firm striving as an alternative to the MC/Wall Street model. I'm just not buying it myself.
    You can challenge whether Gide's management is too centralised and/or not international enough. But what do you make of the argument that Gide doesn't have any significant US or UK presence?? And its being stuck somewhere between the global firm model and the regional firm model, with insufficient profitability to strive in the former and excessive ambitions to succeed in the latter??
    As a poster said, "it can either go back to being a mid-size European firm focusing on a few key markets [in which case it could succeed, I would say], or merge with a global giant [in which case it could no longer trumpet itself as a 'different' firm]".
    What's the alternative? How do you see things working out -- other than saying that "anglo-saxon" firms have their own issues?

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  • Not trying to score cheap points here. Having sat across the table from Gide, I know they have a number of valuable lawyers. But the challenges we're talking about are pitfalls that all second-tier international firms face and will face.
    The difference, however, is that those challenges are all the more relevant when it comes to a France-based firm that wants to fund international expansion when its home market is not nearly as profitable as London or NY. Who would turn to Gide for a massive international arbitration dispute? A headline-grabbing joint venture? A multi-source cross-border financing? A glorified continental firm doesn't make a global firm.

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  • It's very interesting to see the same comments getting in first on every single Gide article, it's almost enough to make one think that somewhere, an axe is being ground...
    But is this not just a spot of musical chairs? Caillemer de Ferrage has a finance practice, and Gide's New York office isn't big enough to let him do what he wants in the States, so he joined Jones Day, which is massive in the US. Boileau recently joined Gide from Jones Day, so it seems more like people finding the best fit than a 'sinking ship'.
    Gide is far from the only firm to fail to crack the US, and far from the only firm to lose finance guys as a result. As for how to change that situation and be seen as "global", whatever that means, that's a different (and difficult) question that I hope the new management are tackling.
    Also, I might read too much into it, but "it does not harm being accurate" and "here is for the alleged lack of international standing" are phrases that can only have been written by a French speaker.

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  • @Anonymous 10:58 am
    Fair points. But you're not addressing the key issues: As someone said, "Who would turn to Gide for a massive international arbitration dispute? A headline-grabbing joint venture? A multi-source cross-border financing? A glorified continental firm doesn't make a global firm." These are relevant queries. How can any firm -- doesn't matter whether it's Gide or any another continental firm -- succeed internationally without a substantial London or NY presence? Surely this question is relevant to many continental firms, without singling out Gide specifically.
    At the end of the day, a firm can focus on a few core jurisdictions where it is profitable, or try to be 'global' and have profitable offices subsidise new markets. How does it work out if you want to become global without a very profitable home base and/or an established London or NY presence?

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  • I think the thick end of a billion dollars is at least "chunky", if not "massive"... http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/6ed60084-82bd-11e0-b97c-00144feabdc0.html
    Arbitrations being quite hush-hush, I'm guessing that reported cases represent the minority of any firm's caseload.
    I don't know anything about finance / M&A in any firm, let alone Gide, but I'm sure their PR guy will be along shortly to share...
    And I agree that glorified continental is not global. Gide may not be particularly massive in London or the US, but it is big in most of Europe, and has a hefty Chinese presence. All of that taken together may well prove to be more than adequate to make money.

    Not every firm can (or should) be a super-profitable global behemoth.

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  • There is plenty of room for everyone in the market. Gide is not a "global" firm but it is certainly an "international" one. How many other firms with their head office in continental Europe can actually say that they have the international coverage of Gide without having merged with (i.e., been swallowed up by) one of the American or English firms?
    Vive la différence! And no, I am not at Gide.

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  • "There is plenty of room for everyone in the market."

    haha.

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  • only after squeezing through La Porte Etroite ....

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  • Obviously Jones Day sees some value in hiring Gide lawyers, would they hire from a terrible firm? I understand that some here are commenting on business strategy etc. probably some valid points, but it seems to me that there are some with vested interests/scores to settle!

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